This past weekend we had a large group of relatives come into town for early Christmas, as most of us have separate plans for the holiday itself.
I have an Aunt who is show-offy, arrogant, and cruel to her step-daughter, and as a result she is sometimes left off the invite list for family events (or when she is invited will refuse to come, like Thanksgiving). She will sometimes commandeer a family events and want to play host, either in an poor effort to either feel included or to force herself upon the rest of us and make sure we do things the way she likes, as she finds our Southern down-home ways unsophisticated and crass (her words).
Last week she took over planning the holiday dinner on Saturday evening by telling my mother to cancel her plans to host it (mom had already been shopping!). She didn't ask, she just told my mother a few days before-hand that she wished to host it herself and my mother shouldn't bother. My mom rolled her eyes and said fine as she prefers to interact with my aunt, her SIL as little as possible. And she took the food she'd bought and tucked it away for Christmas itself. Several other relatives were disgrunteld by Aunt's high-handed treatment of my mother, but went to the dinner anyways.
I myself dislike this Aunt a lot for a variety of reasons, but I thought she hosted a very nice dinner. Sure, she had it catered with non-traditional food instead of cooking herself but that's not a crime. Our family prefer home-cooked meals with the holiday standard foods, but whatever...the food was very nice. I personally adopted a "happy and stupid" attitude for the evening and resolved to be pleasant, smile, be nice to my aunt, and just try to enjoy myself despite how the party came about.
However, several times during the evening I overheard female relatives sniping about Aunt, the catered and untraditional food, the way she treated my mother during the planning, her home decor (which was actually quiet nice, I think they were just looking for anything negative to say). I was really appalled that they would diss the hostess during the party, in her own house. When they tried to draw me in I said, "Hey, if we have something not nice to say about Aunt or the party, could we save until we are not actually IN her house?" and got eye rolls in return.
I know asking my female family members not to gossip is too much, but I wasn't out of line for asking them to chill out with the digs and snarky comments while we are actually AT the party IN the house of the woman they are trashing. Also, Aunt or her hubsband or daughter could easily have overheard these nasty comments and that's just unncessary and embarssing!
Honesly, dissing the hostess during the party is just plain rude. Doesn't matter if the hostess is a boor or rude themselv or what, IMO. If someone wanted to call Aunt out for how she took over the party planning from my mom they needed to say something beforehand or afterwards and not spend the night rabbiting on about it while the event is actually going on.